A contracting firm has been fined $425,000 and the Company Director personally fined $85,500 relating to the death of a worker who fell through an unsecured penetration on a construction site and died. The District Court of NSW found the company involved had previous breaches for not having adequate controls to manage height safety, and failed in their duty to protect workers.

Unfortunately, deaths in mining, and construction continue with regular frequency in Australia, with many well identified fatal risks not being adequately controlled.

Ask yourself if safety obligations are being taken seriously where you work? Are adequate investigations being carried out into near miss and other incidents? Are you analysing data to see where your problem areas are? Do you have a good reporting culture (i.e. do you know what type of incidents are occurring? If the answer to any of these questions is ‘no’ then its time to rethink your WHS Management strategy.

With cases starting to trickle though involving the WHS Act, it’s clear the courts have laid down the gauntlet in terms of the hefty penalties that can be expected where a serious injury or fatality occurs at a workplace.